A militant right-wing marijuana activist, Peter Reynolds, leader of British cannabis law reform pressure group, CLEAR, has been forced to hand over £36,323.86 ($47,500 USD) in legal fees to NORML UK activist Chris Bovey. The court order followed a long running battle in a defamation case brought about by Reynolds.
Reynolds initially issued a defamation writ against Chris Bovey and three other activists back in 2013. Acting as a Litigant In Person, with no professional legal representation, Reynolds paid £8,580 ($11,200 USD) in court fees to serve the writs. He alleged he had been defamed by the other activists for their suggesting he was a racist anti-Semitic bigot who had a reputation for reporting medical marijuana users to the police. (Interestingly enough, Reynolds IS a racist, anti-Semitic bigot who has a reputation for reporting medical marijuana users to the police.)
Anti-Semitism, Racism, Homophobia
Back in 2012, Reynolds took over the former UK group, the Legalise Cannabis Alliance and rebranded it as CLEAR.
Soon after, a series of highly offensive and racist blogs written by Reynolds came to light. In the blogs, Reynolds described Jews as “evil,” complained there were not enough white faces in London, and, incredibly, claimed female models suffered from anorexia because the fashion industry is run by “gay perverts” who deliberately dress them up to look like little boys.
The UK cannabis scene can accurately be described as somewhat liberal, so there was outrage when his offensive blogs were exposed. They were literally full of misogynistic, homophobic, racist rants. There were calls for the nation of Pakistan to be nuked. There were suggestions that “the Jews” should have been “left to their own devices” during the Second World War, as “they’re nothing but trouble.”
Reynolds even bitched that there were too many gay air stewards on British Airways’ planes.
Peter Reynolds Reports His Critics To The Police
As well as being the author of far right racist and homophobic blogs, Reynolds had gained a reputation for reporting his critics to the police. Thankfully, the UK authorities never took his complaints seriously and nobody was ever arrested.
It is, however, understood Reynolds caused a great deal of distress to a number of medicinal users of cannabis, including respected campaigner, Clark French. French is a young multiple sclerosis patient and director of UK medical marijuana lobby group, the United Patients Alliance.
Activist Bovey was determined to fight the case and hired a firm of professional defamation lawyers who swiftly had the case thrown out of Court by judge, Master Eastman. He was subsequently ordered to pay £20,482 ($26,760 USD) to cover Bovey’s legal fees.
Instead of paying the money up, Reynolds refused, and issued further vexatious claims trying to appeal against the costs and the original judgement of the Court. These too were also thrown out of court adding a further £8,422.34 ($11,000 USD). Reynolds refused to pay and boasted online that Chris stood “not a snowball’s chance in hell of getting a penny from him!”
Meanwhile, while Peter Reynolds refused to pay, hiding from the High Court Enforcement officers and claiming poverty, the bill was not going away and Statutory Interest was being added daily at 8 percent, adding an extra £7,418.98 ($9,750) to his final bill.
An Expensive Lesson
Fortunately for Chris, it is very difficult to get out of paying a High Court Debt in the UK. Reynolds discovered at his own great expense. He had recently inherited a sizable amount of money, which was more than enough to cover the legal costs he owed.
Bovey’s lawyers threatened to take Peter to court to get the money, so when faced with the prospect of paying yet more interest and more in legal fees, Reynolds finally relented. He paid the debt in full, which was now almost double what he was originally ordered to pay.
“I’m glad the fool has finally paid up,” Chris Bovey told Toke Signals. “I always said he would not get out of paying the High Court Order he was legally obliged to pay. It was a right pain in the ass being sued by a fruit loop, but if you are going to be involved in any form of litigation, it’s always better to be on the winning side. I’m just glad it’s finally over.
“Mr Reynolds has paid a very high price for his stupidity,” Bovey said. “Hopefully he’ll think twice before issuing any more vexatious lawsuits.”